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Trusting in God Alone

photo by Casey Johnson

Jesus I trust in You.

Hello everyone! For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been at Life Teen’s Camp Covecrest as a summer missionary for the last 3 weeks. Camp Covecrest is a camp in Tiger, GA where Catholic teens from all over the US come for a week-long encounter with Christ. Please pray for me, the other missionaries, the staff, my parish from last week (St. Rose of Lima) and my parish this week (St.Dominic)! The first 2 weeks at camp help us prepare for the campers to arrive. Week one was “Work Week”, where we prepared the outside and inside of camp. The second week was “Formation Week”, which helped us prepare our hearts and minds for campers to arrive. The third week, “Week 1”, is when  our parishes arrived. We spent the whole week with them doing amazing things and glorifying God the entire time. These first 3 weeks have been so fruitful, but by far, the thing I’ve grown the most in is trust.

Here at camp, the Eucharist and prayer is our way of staying in close companionship with Christ. We have a daily holy hour and attend mass together every day as a community. We also begin and end every day with the Liturgy of the Hours. This daily routine of prayer is the heartbeat of our community and the strength I receive from daily communion is hard to express with words. Every day I have to trust in the Lord to give me strength. I have to trust that He is working in the teens and in me.

During work week we had abundant opportunities for spiritual direction with Fr. John Ignatius, one of the founders of the Servants of Christ Jesus. During one of our discussions on trust, he talked about a poverty pilgrimage that he went on a few years back. A poverty pilgrimage is a journey from one place to another with the bare minimum. Fr. John’s was along the California Mission trail. He took a backpack with a change of clothes and his bible inside – nothing else. No money, no hotel reservations, no food – nothing. He said that every day they had to trust in the Lord to get them from one place to another. His entire trip, he said that he never spent a night outside, he never starved, and most importantly, he never stopped trusting the Lord. Hearing this story stressed me out. No prior planning? No money? No food? His example of radical trust in the Lord showed me that if he can survive weeks of travel on only trust, I can at least start to trust God more in the smaller things in my life.

My bunk mate, Devin, always has a prayer that I love. He says, “Lord, if You want me to work on something make it abundantly clear.” God made it abundantly clear that I needed to work on trust. The best example of that is one night in Eucharistic Adoration:

We were called to place something at the foot of the altar and give it up to God. I placed my object and looked up at Christ in the monstrance and, for a split second, questioned it. I returned to my seat, which I noticed had a sheet of paper laying on it that I hadn’t seen before. I opened it and, lo and behold, it was the Litany of Trust. Talk about being abundantly clear! Since then I’ve been working on giving Jesus more and more, and trusting Him with more things in my life.

I encourage everyone who took the time to read this to pray a Litany of Trust for themselves or a loved one, and if you feel called, make it a weekly, or daily, devotion.

Litany of Trust

From the belief that I have to earn Your love … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear that I am unlovable … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the false security that I have what it takes … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute … Deliver me, Jesus.
From all suspicion of Your words and promises … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You … Deliver me, Jesus.
From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will … Deliver me, Jesus.
From anxiety about the future … Deliver me, Jesus.
From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past … Deliver me, Jesus.
From restless self-seeking in the present moment … Deliver me, Jesus.
From disbelief in Your love and presence … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being asked to give more than I have … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth … Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of what love demands … Deliver me, Jesus.
From discouragement … Deliver me, Jesus.

That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me … Jesus, I trust in You.
That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me … Jesus, I trust in You.
That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You … Jesus, I trust in You.
That You are with me in my suffering … Jesus, I trust in You.
That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next … Jesus, I trust in You.
That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church … Jesus, I trust in You.
That Your plan is better than anything else … Jesus, I trust in You.
That You always hear me, and in Your goodness always respond to me … Jesus, I trust in You.
That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others … Jesus, I trust in You.
That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked … Jesus, I trust in You.
That my life is a gift … Jesus, I trust in You.
That You will teach me to trust You … Jesus, I trust in You.
That You are my Lord and my God … Jesus, I trust in You.
That I am Your beloved one … Jesus, I trust in You.

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A Letter to My Freshly Single Brothers and Sisters

My dearest siblings,

It’s hard. Whether you just got broken up with, or you did the breaking, I know that it is. I am currently sharing this struggle with you, and I want to tell you something so important. Everyone has probably been telling you the usual, “it will get better” speech, and they are not wrong. It most definitely will get better, but not unless you make one important decision. The decision to guard your heart.

Yes, I know that is the cheesiest thing that can be said at this moment. It is the stereotypical Bible verse about relationships and love, but THIS is the moment where it is most crucial to do so. This is the time where your heart is most vulnerable. When you are in a relationship you learn to let your walls down, and to let heart be softened to the person you are with. You get used to each other. You have those inside jokes, that one restaurant that is your spot, and that show that one of you ALWAYS wants to watch on Netflix. That is something so beautiful and special that you can share with someone, but it’s something so hard to forget when trying to get over the breakup.

This is the time when you are searching for something to fill that void where your boyfriend/girlfriend once stood. There is that part of you, no matter how big or small, that misses the little routine things. There is this feeling of, “what do I do with my time?” This is also where something the world knows as the rebound effect happens. We all know what I am talking about, and how negatively it affects lives. There is such a desire to give and receive love that we convince ourselves we are ready to move on, to start fresh. Let me tell you, my dear brothers and sisters, that is not a fresh start at all. We have so many emotions happening at once that it is easy to get them confused. If you jump into a new relationship, or even back into the one you were just in, without really praying about what the right thing to do is, you could really do damage to both parties here. We really have to put aside our earthly desires and ask God to guide us in our decision making.

I had been with my boyfriend a little over a year before I decided it was best to end it. I told God no so many times; breaking up with him was the last thing that I wanted to do. It was such a hard decision and I cried when I finally decided to do it. I will tell you where I found comfort; in Psalm 37:4 it says, “Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart’s desire”. That is what made it all make since to me. I was focusing so much on my desires that I was completely disregarding that God had plans for me! However, this still did not make me 100% certain that ending it was, in fact, what God was asking me to do. I pulled out a prayer book I bought and read this prayer.

“Lord, I turn to you for help, that in your wisdom you might aid me in making the right decision. I am unsure about what is best for me, and at times I am scared to pray for guidance, not because I don’t believe, but because I know that if I am honest with myself and with you, I will be changed – and that change scares me. I am comfortable now, and sometimes I am afraid of what you might be calling me to do. Shake me from my comfort. When I doubt my ability to choose what is right, guide me in my discernment and point me in the direction you want me to go. When I turn to you, I will always find the courage to choose faith, the strength to choose hope, and the compassion to choose love. I am not made or unmade by the things which happen to me but my reaction to them.” – St. John of the Cross

After reading, and really praying this prayer, I felt it. I started hysterically crying in my room and I knew that it had to be done. Again I say yes, it was hard, but God granted me such peace that even though I was hurting greatly, I knew that I did right by Him.

So my lovely siblings in Christ, run to Jesus. Run to Him with all your hurt, all your desires, and everything making your heart feel heavy. He will be exactly what you need. Guard your heart by giving it to Him. Find your desires that you didn’t even know you had by calling out to our heavenly Father and asking Him to hold you and shower you with grace! I will be praying for you! That you may pray the prayer I have shared with you and have stillness in your hearts to listen to God’s call. You are all so important and I cannot put into words how much I love you!

With all of my love always,

Venessa Benitez

“God will never show you gold and give you silver.” – Jackie Angel

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The Mobile Mission in Missouri!!!

We love retreats! And we love putting them on for teenagers! So when we were asked to help out with the Spirit Alive Youth Conference in Wentzville, Missouri we were ecstatic! This was a bit different for us because we weren’t putting the retreat on ourselves, instead we were working with a team of other people who had been organizing this conference for several years now – and we were happy to help! So 9 of us (about half of our team), embarked on what would be the longest distance yet for us to travel for a retreat. 600 miles later (one-way) and after 12 hours in our beautiful blue bus (a trip that would normally take 9 hours in a car), we had arrive and were eagerly looking forward to an amazing weekend with over 100 teens for the conference! Overall, the trip and the conference were both a huge success! Through this trip, God showed us a glimpse of what He has in store for our future as a ministry – and we are more than ready to rise to the occasion and serve!

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“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!” ”  – Isaiah 6:8
“He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ”  – Matthew 4:19

 

 

 

We’ll let the rest of the story be told by several of our team members. First, our newest member…

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Bethany Hughes… First fact about Missouri: it is a lot colder than Georgia weather. I was not expecting it to be cold and stay cold ALL day, plus they had a constant wind (brrr). Despite the cold, Missouri is sooo beautiful. We had perfect timing and were able to be there when the leaves were changing and falling (I could sit and watch leaves for days…it’s one of my favorite hobbies). An amazing thing in Missouri was to see a Catholic church almost every 2 miles. Quite different from what us southerners are used to, with there being maybe one per city.

IMG_20151018_105055812Trips are always exciting. I love the planning, organization, details, and the adventure of the actual trip. The Missouri trip was a bit different for me. I wasn’t in control; I didn’t know all the details or the organization. I didn’t know I would be able to go until two weeks before the trip. The scariest part of going to Missouri was knowing that I was getting ready to embark on a twelve hour bus ride with seven complete strangers (no big deal right!?!). Well that was going to change soon. There is no better way to bond with your new team members than on an twelve hour bus ride (even though a majority of the time was spent sleeping). I will save you all from the boring details and just tell you about the awesomeness.

The exciting points of the trip for me was making pb&j’s on a moving bus (that was a challenge!), jam sessions, games, and getting to talk and know IMG_20151015_141351129my fellow teammates. What was even more awesome was being able to lead the team in my favorite form of prayer – the rosary. On our way to Wentzville we made a pit stop in St. Louis, where God gave us the opportunity to visit the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The Basilica is the largest and most beautiful church I have had the opportunity to visit. Along with just being able to see the splendor of the church, we were given the grace and honor of going to the back to see their relics. What a true honor it was to be in the same room as a piece of the original cross. I mean can you imagine? Being in the same place as a piece of the cross that our Lord was actually crucified on. What a humbling experience. After our stop at the Basilica we made our way downtown. We went to hand out the pb&j sandwiches that we had made on the trip up, which proved to be a little harder than we thought when we didn’t find that many hungry people on the streets. But God works in wonderful ways and we finally found ourselves in front of a homeless shelter and were able to give a group of men the sandwiches and fruit that we had left. We we were able to talk to and witness to our brothers in Christ there, and even signed one man’s arm cast and prayed with him.

Our next stop was Wentzville, Missouri where the conference was being held. Here I just want to thank our amazing host family who opened their homes and hearts to us! At the actual retreat I helped with a bit of everything, wherever they needed me. I also got to get out of my comfort zone and lead a small group. Small groups is one of my weaknesses…I always feel inadequate in helping lead/teach others about following and living their faith. Through this trip God was able “gird my loins” by renewing my trust in my capabilities through the Holy Spirit.

It was such a blessing that God put the Mobile Mission in my life, I am so joyful to be the newest member of the team…well I should say family. God revealed to me piece by piece throughout the weekend how He plans on using my life for His glory. How He can work through me to show everyone that they are adequate enough, that God created them in His image for a purpose.

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Evan Glowzinski… This was a beautiful and blessed opportunity for all of us. To leave our home state and travel to help with a retreat in a location none of us have ever been to. We traveled as missionaries sleeping on a bus, and literally living on what could be considered the 8th sacrament for youth ministers: coffee. Traveling together strengthened bonds of friendships and even started a few others. For me, going through the ups and downs that always seem to happen before a retreat is always made more beautiful when surrounded by those you love and serve with. One of the highlights for me, outside of the retreat, was getting to visit the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis. This was the first time I was able to see a church this beautiful and to have it be a pilgrimage before the retreat truly helped set the tone of service for me.

Tony Roberts… First of all, the Mobile Mission bus was a perfect road trip vehicle…20151015_143454everyone had a spot to sleep and a nice window view. We made peanut butter sandwiches in the bus to hand out in St. Louis and we visited the Cathedral Basilica and saw all the beautiful art and relics. This was a truly impactful visit, even though it was just a stop in our way to the conference. The hospitality in Missouri was amazing, and I loved seeing all the Catholic churches on every corner. The conference was held at a church built in the 1800’s with a beautiful altar. Traveling halfway across the country to help with a conference we’d never been to – we didn’t know what to expect, but the teens attending were very excited to be there and all the volunteers and other speakers were great. The highlight of the trip for me would be Saturday night adoration when the priest walked around the whole room with the monstrance, stopping in front of each and every person there.

Check out more pictures from our trip!

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Grief Snuck In

    You’re never truly over the loss of someone you love. You don’t get over it, you move past it. Jesus gives us the blessing of time. The Bible shows us that Jesus is never closer to us than when we are brokenhearted. 

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18 

      Last month, I turned 25. I was looking forward to going out to dinner with my parents, and we were having everyone over to our new house for a big cookout. Once you hit 21 birthdays are just another number but that doesn’t really stop me from big parties. What can I say? I’m Brazilian, it’s in my DNA. Being Brazilian means I have a pretty giant family and being 25 means I’m incredibly blessed to still have almost all of my grandparents around. My dad’s mom (Mimi) lives next door, my mom’s mom lives right down the street, and my mom’s dad and stepmom live just a couple hours away.

        My Vovo, my grandmother’s husband, passed away when I was a kid. I have some pretty incredible memories of the two of us – he taught me how to play cards (even though I never developed a poker face), he taught me how to swim, and he taught me how to cook french fries on the stove. Vovo did some insanely amazing things with his life – he was an Olympic swimmer who won a bronze medal, he competed in several golf tournaments, and he served as an ambassador for Argentina. I thought he was invincible – and then he got sick. In the last few years of his life he had a couple of serious illnesses that really robbed him of the ability to connect with us. He passed away and it was the first time in my life I had lost someone. I didn’t really understand what happened, and when high school rolled around, I threw myself into Life Teen.
      Flash foward to being 25, happily married, and having a party. It’s a tradition in my family that when we have a birthday we go to Mimi’s house to visit. She’s 93 and not as mobile as she used to be, so no big parties or travelling for her. I was sitting next to her talking about my husband’s new job when she handed a present to me. I. Love. Presents. I will totally and happily admit to that being my love language. When I opened the bag and pulled out the tissue paper I was holding a large silver cup that my grandfather won from a golf tournament exactly 50 years ago.
      I thought I was over my grief. I didn’t expect it to sneak in through my defenses and punch me in the face with all the subtlety of a Bruce Willis movie. There’s no shame in the fact that when Mimi handed me that silver cup, I started crying like I was four years old again and my cousin told me unicorns weren’t real (we can talk about denial in another post). But there are proper times for everything in life. Ecclesiasties 3:1-14 tells us that there is a time for everything.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;”
       It’s now been a few weeks since I got the cup, and it’s sitting proudly on my bookshelf. I see it every morning when I get a cup of coffee and I think about the good memories my Vovo left me. I went through my season of mourning, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not allowed to be sad sometimes. Life is about being authentic. Jesus tells us to live the truth: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The Father wants us to come to Him will our worries, our joys, our grief. The Bible is full of places lamenting those who turn away from the face of Jesus. There is no greater comfort than sitting in front of Jesus in adoration or participating in the mass. So the next time grief sneaks in, make room in your heart and spend some time thanking Jesus for this beautiful life we’ve been given. I’ll salute you with an old silver cup. 

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200 Hugs a Day

So last friday I arrived at my new apartment. I was greeted by Dulce, the contact person I have been talking to this whole time. She works with Catholic Mission Trips (CMT – the organization that I worked with this past summer). She is an extremely kind woman who lives in the states with her husband and their children are fully grown. They own a couple of large homes here in the DR that they rent out to missionaries and close personal friends. A Little back story…originally, the plan was that I would be working with high school and college-aged teens a few weeks in April and May. About a week before I left for the Dominican I was told that both groups that were suppose to come were no longer available. Since I had already booked everything and still felt like God was calling me to go, I told Dulce that I was still coming and would help in any way possible. So on February 20th she and I met and discussed the different possibilities of things for me to do. I forgot the fact that I hadn’t told my parents that the groups had backed out and that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I had just figured that there was no use in worrying them; I knew God would take care of it, I just had to wait and see what his plan was. So when I was Skyping with them a week before I was starting school, I filled them in with this information. I have really awesome parents – who trust me, but more importantly, trust God.

Monday, the 2nd of March, was my first day of school. It’s a public school that is run by Catholic nuns. Initially, I was told that I would just be the English teacher’s assistant and that I would just help a small group of students that were having the most trouble learning English. When I arrived on my first day of class I met the English teacher, who is a very sweet Dominican woman who has a husband and two young children. She speaks English, but is definitely not fluent. After a quick introduction she brought me to our first class, which was fourth grade. I walk into the room and she says, “Ok, you can start whenever you are ready”. I just stare at her blankly and mutter a very confused, “What”? Then she says again, “You can start whenever you are ready. We are learning the parts of the body. Do you know any songs or sayings or anything like that?” I thought about how I was told I was only going to be helping…but I figured it was pretty pointless to bring that up to her right now. So I said a little prayer and thought of the “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” song. And that is how the rest of the day went. The teacher would tell me what they were learning about and I would do my best to think of something to teach them. Also, in the afternoon I coach volleyball. To say I was exhausted after my first day was an understatement. So I took a long nap and then later that night I thought of new ways to teach and how I could help the most. So each day, Eva (the english teacher) and I got into more of a rhythm and things have been going a lot more smoothly since. Let me tell you something, the kids at this school are the sweetest kids you will ever meet. I get hugged at least 200 times a day. All the students are constantly saying hi and asking me how I am and that sort of thing. It’s great practice for my Spanish because their conversations are usually pretty simple and kind of the same every day. The love they give me fills me up and gives me more energy to continue. Let me also tell you…I feel so tired all the time. So if you could, I would love for you to pray for me to have energy and strength. This week I have organized my schedule so I am not doing quite so much every day. Because when I get done with school I still need to do other things, like clean the apartment, go grocery shopping, laundry, practice Spanish, think about tomorrow’s lessons, and 3-4 days a week I go on a run by the ocean…You know, all this grown up stuff that is brand new to me. But I love it, my days are so fulfilling. I get distracted so easily and it seems like every day is a battle to believe that I am good enough to help people, that I am the right person to be here; to do this. Constantly the devil is telling me that my Spanish is terrible, that I should know way more, that I am not working hard enough every day, and that I am not making a difference and am wasting everyone’s time. I have to keep reminding myself these things are lies. I also struggle every single day with trusting God with the plans for my life. Just the other day I was thinking, what am I going to do about a job? I left mine back in Georgia and don’t know if I have one to go back to. What am I going to do? Then fear and doubt creep into my mind. I didn’t raise any money for this trip because I have been working really hard for a long time and have saved up a bit of money so I knew I had enough to last me for a while. Plus, I didn’t know the plans of my trip and would hate to have people sponsoring me without even knowing what I am doing myself. So I just decided I would live off my savings and trust that this is what God wants me to do. Like I said, it’s a daily struggle. But get this…just yesterday I received an email from my coordinator from CMT saying they could afford to give me a stipend for my time in the DR, which is enough money to cover my housing and my plane ticket. God is so good! I don’t know why I won’t just let myself be in the hands of God; he has proven to me numerous times that his plans are ALWAYS better than mine. But, I am learning and every day I am saying little “yeses” here and there. I will admit, sometimes I feel God telling me to do something, like pray over someone, or go talk to a certain person, and I say no. I say I cannot do it, that I don’t think I am ready for that big of a challenge, or that I feel too busy, or it makes me too uncomfortable. I regret every single time I have said “no”. But the beautiful thing is that God has not given up on me. He says, “That’s ok, we will try again tomorrow.” So all of our days are filled with little and big chances to say “yes” and “no” to God. It’s crazy to me how many times I say “no”, even though I see how amazing it is when you say “yes”. But one of the biggest tricks the devil plays is making you think he does not exist; that he is not there whispering in your ear all your failures and shortcomings. Making you believe that you are not good enough or worthy enough to carry out God’s will. But this, of course, is a lie; because when you are doing anything in the name of Jesus, it is not you alone doing this work, but God working through you – and God never fails. You may not see the fruits of your labor, but working in the name of God is never a cropless harvest. So, my dear friends and family, I urge you to start saying “yes” to God. Allow yourselves to become vulnerable and you will witness just how protected you actually are. We have the creator of the universe wanting to show us the path to happiness and fulfillment, but we let our earthly desires and pride get in the way.
This next challenge is a big one. I believe you are ready, because if God brings you to it, he will most certainly help you through it. Say “yes” to that thing you keep saying “no” to…that thing that has always been on your heart, but you are to scared to discover what it will do to your life.

Jeremiah 29: 11-14. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Trust him. I promise, it will be more amazing than you could ever image, more challenging and meaningful and beautiful than you can every imagine. There is no better time than the present, that is why it is a gift 🙂

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The Eucharist from 35,000 Feet

Even at 35,000 feet, it’s amazing when God can reach you on a plane full of people in the most unusual place. Do you know how much faith it takes for someone to fly? You have to trust the pilot that they know what they are doing and are able to handle any problem. You have to trust the mechanics that they didn’t take a shortcut on the inspection and that the plane is safe to fly. You have to trust the air traffic controllers that they will keep an eye out for you and the other planes. The list goes on and on. The amount of faith it takes to trust all these people to keep that giant scrap of metal in the air against the law of gravity is huge. How come we can trust all these people but at times we find it so hard to trust God? It seems like, as humans, we are always trying to control every aspect of life. Need to get to some place farther than you wanna walk? Invent the car. Need to get to the other side of the world? Invent a plane. Wanna see the moon? Strap a few rockets to a tin can and launch it. For every “problem” we have we always turn to a material way to solve it, whether it be money, power, technology, etc; but what happens when you can’t solve your problems with these items? In a world of instant gratification we are losing what it means for things to be a sacrifice and as such we lose the special graces that come with sacrifices. Take Mass for example, how many excuses do we come up with for not going or showing up late? My brothers and sisters, do we not understand what we have presented to us at every Mass? The Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our God. Why is it we have no problem praying in times of need and asking God to take away all of our problems and sufferings but when things are going well or when we’re busy it tends to be the last thought in our minds? I am just as guilty as anyone but this isn’t about guilt, it’s about how much God longs for us. The Eucharist is our spiritual food that nourishes us and strengthens us against evil. I love being a Eucharistic minister because I get to bring this Eucharist, brought to us by Christ’s priests, to everyone who receives. It saddens me when people approach the Eucharist and looks away or look ashamed because the Eucharist is not presented to make us guilty or bring us shame. My brothers and sisters, it brings us LIFE, MERCY and FORGIVENESS! In the sacrifice of the Mass, the same sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross at Calvary to forgive sins and reconcile us with God, is made present through time in the presentation of the Eucharist. Come to the table and eat the Bread of Life! If you feel unworthy then congrats, you are in good company, but don’t let that stop you – God didn’t let it. He wants to be with you and wants to know you. Brothers and sisters, go to confession and get rid of those chains that bind you to this world. Experience the forgiveness that God is longing to give you and the freedom that comes from it. No sin is too great, no sin is too powerful. Let us not view the Sacraments as a burden or something to make us feel bad, but as life-bringing and beautiful.

My brothers and sisters, let’s change the world. Let’s be on fire for our faith with a belief and understanding that nothing is greater than our God and no sin is too big. Let’s stop being lukewarm Christians and change the world by our examples and not just our words. Let’s have a look of excitement and joy when we go to Mass instead of grim and uncaring. Let us not only speak to God but listen and have a conversation, for you will never know when He is trying to reach you. Lastly, let us go to Mass and offer it for our brothers and sisters who are being prosecuted for their faith and who are unable to attend Mass. Let our prayers be the strength for them to know that they are not alone. Whether you belong to the Catholic Church or not we are all the Body of Christ and as such each person has value, has worth and is made in the image of God.

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